How to Specify a Preferred SMTP Server on a Mac

What to Know

  • Choose the Mail app from the Mac Dock. Select Mail in the menu bar and choose Preferences.
  • Open the Accounts tab and select an account. Choose the Server Settings tab.
  • Next to Outgoing Mail Account, select the preferred server or choose Edit SMTP Server List to add another server.

This article explains how to change or add an SMTP server for an email account. Information in this article applies to macOS Big Sur (11) through OS X Lion (10.7).

How to Add or Change an SMTP Server

Several popular email providers, including Google, Yahoo, Exchange, and AOL, are preconfigured with a default SMTP server on Macs. That isn’t the case with all email providers. You may never need to make a change to the default email server listed for an account, but you may be asked by an ISP or an employer to use a preferred SMTP server.

To set a preferred outgoing SMTP mail server for an account in the Mail app:

  1. Open the Mail application by clicking its icon on the Dock.

  2. Click Mail in the menu bar and select Preferences from the drop-down menu.

  3. Click the Accounts tab in the screen that opens and highlight the account for which you want to specify an outgoing email server.

    If the account isn’t listed, click the plus sign to add an account. Select the type of account from the screen that opens and enter any requested information.

  4. Select the Server Settings tab.

  5. Choose the preferred server from the drop-down list next to Outgoing Mail Account.

    To edit or add a new outgoing mail server for an account, click Edit SMTP Server list in the drop-down menu and make the change. Click OK to close the editing screen and then select the preferred server from the drop-down list.

  6. Close the Accounts window.

Obtaining SMTP Server Information

Don’t stop at setting up your iCloud email account. Take the time to set up any other email providers in the Mail application so you can access them all from within the Mail app.

In addition to the preconfigured email providers, you may have email providers that you enter manually under Add Other Account in Apple Mail. In this case, you must input all the provider’s information, including the SMTP server. Contact the email provider for the necessary information you need.

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